First Edition: July 29, 2009
The pre-August recess, health reform rush is on -- with Senate negotiations, House Democrat difficulties and Obama continuing efforts to take the case for an overhaul to the public.
Big Employees Could End Up Paying Cadillac Tax
As Congress contemplates taxing insurers for gold-plated health benefits to pay for a health overhaul, it might catch another group in its net: employers who "self-insure"-or pay for their workers' health bills on their own (Kaiser Health News).
The Centrist Alternative On Healthcare: Cooperatives
Senate Democrats debating how to overhaul America's healthcare system are moving toward a showdown over whether to create a government-run insurance program or set up a system of cooperatives instead (LA Times).
Democrats Push Health Care Plan While Issuing Assurances On Medicare
President Obama tried Tuesday to sell his health care plan to older Americans, as members of Congress said they were deluged with calls from constituents worried that their Medicare benefits might be cut to help finance coverage for the uninsured (New York Times).
NPR Poll Finds Tough Sledding For Obama
President Obama has hit a rough patch this summer, squeezed between a lingering recession and rising questions about the health care overhaul he has made the centerpiece of his first-year agenda (National Public Radio).
Senators Close To Health Accord
An emerging consensus among a bipartisan group of senators is poised to shift the dynamic in the congressional debate over health-care reform and could lead to a final product that sheds many of the priorities that President Obama has emphasized and that have drawn GOP attacks (Washington Post).
Plan To Tax Insurers Stirs Interest In House
Senior House Democrats, seeking a health bill acceptable to rank-and-file lawmakers, are warming to a plan to tax insurers that sell high-end health policies (Wall Street Journal).
Dem Healthcare Infighting Intensifies
A House fight among Democrats on overhauling the nation's healthcare system has spread to the Senate, where centrists and liberals are clashing over the direction the legislation should take (The Hill).
Liberals Fear Losing Public-Plan Option
Liberals who see the effort to overhaul health care as a once-in-a-generation opportunity are growing anxious that a final deal -- and a Democratic president they backed -- will negotiate away their top priority: a public plan to compete with private insurers (Wall Street Journal).
Democrats Scramble For Pre-Recess Progress
Democratic leaders are clinging to hope of progress on health care reform before Congress breaks for its August recess, but marathon negotiating sessions in the House yielded no breakthroughs Tuesday, and the list of open issues grew longer rather than shorter (Politico).
Debate Tests Harry Reid's Leadership Style
If Reid can bring together the sparring factions of his own caucus, he may get the credit for being the critical negotiator who made health care reform possible. But if he can't - if the bill moves too far to the right or too far to the left or just doesn't move at all - Reid could be blamed for missing a may-never-come-again chance to vastly expand coverage (Politico).
Doctors Oppose Giving Commission Power Over Medicare Payments
Proposals from the White House and Congress to give an independent commission significant power over Medicare payments are drawing opposition from the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons (Wall Street Journal).
Health Care Reform And The Unpopular "T" Word
The many-headed Hydra, with breath poisonous enough to kill, is one of the more gruesome beasts in Greek mythology. In Hercules's great clash with it, he would cut off one of its heads, only to have two more appear. No matter what he did, he couldn't keep up (New York Times).
Lobbyists Battle Over Drug Sales
As Congress struggles with a massive health care overhaul, several lobbying powerhouses - including the pharmaceutical industry and the nation's largest advocacy group for retirees - are locked in a contentious fight over the future of biotechnology drugs (USA Today).
Industry Donates To Drug Plan Foes
Lawmakers who count pharmaceutical companies among their biggest contributors lead the opposition to a health care proposal that would cut costs by allowing generic drugs to compete sooner with pricey biotechnology drugs, campaign-finance records show (USA Today).
Sign up to receive this list of First Edition headlines via email. Check out all of Kaiser Health News' email options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.